January 30, 2003
By Eddie Ruff
is it that sets this time apart from so many that have gone
before? What is it about this president that he has set war
fever above all else? Why is it this era we must face with
deep chagrin and dark despair, when there were seemingly so
many others we could have suffered through, which contained
even more dire threats?
Our noble president said it himself: it's like a bad movie.
Of course, he was talking about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but
many of us, in fact, most of us, see it as George Bush and
the U.S.A., Part II. And it's been mentioned, we can only
hope this sequel ends the same as Bush I - as a one-term experiment
Let's go back and see how Bush's predecessors handled crisis
in the Middle East - is there a precedent for this rush to
In 1967, the 6-Day War swept around Israel, culminating in
the unification of Jerusalem and the humiliation of the Arab
countries. President Johnson, already fully embroiled in Vietnam,
wisely kept our military at bay, even though the Jews may
well have been wiped from the map. Were the same scenario
to be played out today, do you believe George W. Bush could
show the same restraint?
Eerily, a similar scene WAS played out just a few short years
later, as an attack of Biblical proportions fulminated itself
against the Holy Land - and was once again miraculously beaten
back. Why, George W. would literally salivate with pride and
pleasure were this near-Armageddon to happen now! And you
can bet his reaction would see to it that the blood in the
Valley of Megiddo would indeed reach to the height of a horse's
bridle. Strangely enough, that mighty Republican of renown,
Richard M. Nixon, didn't see fit to respond with an overwhelming
show of force. Once again, restraint was the watchword.
Then we had that wimp Jimmy Carter - you know, the guy that
brought Egypt and Israel together for the historic talks and
treaty? Remember Camp David? Of course you don't - all our
hawkish population can recall is the hostage debacle and humiliation
perpetrated by the Ayatollah in 1979-80. Most Reaganites would
credit Carter's subsequent defeat to this failure. And all
that peacenik peanut-picker ever got out of his 4 failed years
was a lousy Nobel Peace Prize! Shows what restraint can get
Of course our hero Ronnie-boy was no wimp! He stood up to
the Ayatollah, all right, and fed arms to Iraq at breakneck
pace throughout the '80s. (Hmmm. might that be where some
of the presumed "weapons of mass destruction" came from? Perish
the thought!) One might ask why the bombs didn't fly in 1983
when our embassy was bombed in Lebanon, or again later that
year when over 400 Marines were killed as they slept in their
barracks in downtown Beirut, but what would be the point?
It was a different world, then, by cracky, and the shadow
of M.A.D. held its sway over us all. No wonder our Great Communicator
was encouraged to shout down the Berlin Wall.
Can you imagine anything remotely similar coming out of George
W.'s mouth were similar circumstances to arise today? Hell,
no! The world would have been obliterated by 1984!
When Poppy Bush took over in 1989 he was handed the great
gift of hegemony soon thereafter - and refused to squander
it, even as the Gulf War began, and ended. No, George W.'s
dad was smart enough to build a coalition, and rely on it,
and to get in and get out while the getting was good. True,
he left a madman in power in Baghdad, but hey, last time I
looked, Kaddafi still ran Libya, and what has he done lately?
And the Ayatollah eventually shuffled from the mortal coil
with nary a peep. So restraint was still a watchword to follow.
Time and time again Bill Clinton showed restraint on the
world stage, if not with the interns in the Oval Office, and
left with head held high, and why shouldn't he? We had just
experienced 8 years of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity!
The deficit was wiped out, people were happy, and our foreign
policy was sane. Not that Clinton couldn't have thought up
some excuse to beat the drums of war, and "lead" the U.S.
into some foolish endeavor against some imaginary "axis of
evil," but that isn't how he chose to run the country.
But it IS how George W. has chosen to run the country. And
he's running it into the ground. This supposed "man of God"
has chosen a God-forsaken course of hostility and chaos, showing
none of the restraint of our leaders which have gone before.
We can't possibly connect the dots and draw any correlation
between Saddam and 9-11. Even the president's own advisors
have routinely stated that the current policies being enacted
will lead to MORE terrorism against U.S. interests, not less.
Meanwhile, the deficit is skyrocketing and the economy is
in the toilet.
And this president, today, is squandering the good will built
over the past several decades by those truly noble presidents
who have gone before. America, in a hegemonic grab for oil
in the Middle East, may well shrink in stature on the world
stage as a result. That is, if the actions of George W. Bush
don't usher in the REAL Armageddon (something he seems to
crave), and the stage itself ceases to exist. These very dangerous
times call for restraint, not an unprecedented rush to war.
Eddie earned his B.A. in Political Science in 2001 and
currently works for the ubiquitous left-wing media in California.